Today I got rid of my old phone. The screen died earlier this week, and I was unable to do anything but make outgoing calls by blindly dialing numbers I had memorized (like, a total of 3), and receiving incoming calls.
I am devoting an entire post to this because of how I felt around the issue.
In today’s technological jungle, people generally have their personal electronic devices for less and less time before it breaks or they upgrade to the next newest device. Being the frugal, sensible person I am, I don’t see the need to upgrade or buy a brand new anything unless I absolutely have to. I have had my phone – a simple, non-smart, touch screen phone – for almost two years. Maybe that’s a lot for some of you, I don’t know. (My boyfriend has a new gadget replacing the old one about every 3 months or so) But I just didn’t see the need to get a new phone if the old thing worked.
That said, you can only imagine how much information was on this non-smart phone. Well, it was a lot (to me, at least). I had photographs of my dogs, family, friends, and places I’d been. I had saved text messages from loved ones of sentimental and informative value. I had messages from people I no longer talk to. I didn’t have the sense to back it up on a SIM card (which didn’t come with the phone), so after multiple attempts to blindly back up my information, I decided to give up. I had to send the broken phone back or pay for the new one.
This whole situation really got to me. It awoke my old pack-rat tendencies, and my sentimental alarm went off. I read a couple of articles on hoarding and how to get rid of stuff you don’t need (found here, here, here, and HERE), and related to just about every one of the things they attribute to full-blown hoarders. I had attached sentimental value to the phone itself even though I had no way of retrieving the information that was on it. I thought that by keeping the phone, I could somehow, some day figure out how to get my photos and texts off of it. It kind of reminds me of people who cryogenically freeze their loved ones in the hopes of some day finding a cure for ailment or old age. And I gotta admit, it’s kind of scary. (Though nice knowing I’m certainly not alone – Google will yield thousands and thousands of search results if you type in “clutter”, “getting rid of stuff”, or “living simply”)
This morning, after stalling for over a week, I finally kissed my faithful old phone goodbye, sealed it in the prepaid return envelope and dropped it into the nearest mail box to me. Done and done.
I’m sure many of you have done something similar to this, and can describe my forthcoming emotions. Of course I feel some sense of loss for this inanimate object that I have come to place irrational value upon like any other well-bred American consumer. However, I also felt an immense amount of relief and ease that I no longer have to worry about the information on this phone. Luckily, the phone store was able to save my contacts which I would say is probably the most important part of my old phone. So other than that, what did I really need from that phone? REALLY. I came to terms with the fact that I really didn’t need anything from the phone. Not a thing. Sure, I’d love to be able to show others what my dog looks like dressed as a pirate, and I do wish I could read that love-filled text my boyfriend sent me last month. But I know that my dog is adorable. If I really wanted to, I could dress him up again and take another picture. And I know that my boyfriend loves me; I don’t need a text message to confirm it.
It took actually getting rid of the phone in every sense to realize that it didn’t matter. Once it was out of my hands, literally AND figuratively, I felt relieved in letting go of something. Lord knows I have plenty of other things to think about!
This was just one tiny, itty bitty step on my journey towards living more simply. I take it as a personal win, no matter how small. You gotta start somewhere, right??
Oh, and just in case any of you were curious: